To accept as a fact of life that a certain technology will be used for the simple reason that we know how to use it, or that we shall continue to live under a certain social system after it has become too complicated for human understanding, is tantamount to an abdication of intellectual and social responsibility.
Only science can hope to keep technology in some sort of moral order.
There is a very general belief that, where gadgets are concerned, we can get something for nothing - can enjoy all the advantages of an elaborate, top-heavy and constantly advancing technology without having to pay for them by any compensating disadvantages.
It is characteristic of our age to endeavour to replace virtues by technology. That is to say, wherever possible we strive to use methods of physical or social engineering to achieve goals which our ancestors thought attainable only by the training of character. Thus we try so far as possible to make contraception take the place of chastity, and anesthetics to take the place of fortitude; we replace resignation by insurance policies and munificence by the Welfare state. It would be idle romanticism to deny that such techniques and institutions are often less painful and more efficient methods of achieving the goods and preventing the evils which unaided virtue once sought to achieve and avoid. But it would be an equal and opposite folly to hope that the take-over of virtue by technology may one day be complete.
Every person alive today derives much benefit from comforts and pleasures that in the past were not available. All of the latest inventions and findings of technology serve us to a remarkable degree. For all this we should be full of appreciation and gratitude.
The machine that frees a man’s back of drudgery does not thereby make his spirit free. Technology has mad us more productive, but it does not necessarily enrich our lives. Engineers can build us great dams, but only great people make a valley great. There is no technology of goodness. Men must make themselves spiritually free.
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.
Despite the dazzling successes of modern technology and the unprecedented power of modern military systems, they suffer from a common and catastrophic fault. While providing us with a bountiful supply of food, with great industrial plants, with high-speed transportation, and with military weapons of unprecedented power, they threaten our very survival.
Science and technology, like all original creations of the human spirit, are unpredictable. If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is gambling with human lives.
America’s technology has turned in upon itself; its corporate form makes it the servant of profits, not the servant of human needs.
Government... is neither business, nor technology, nor applied science. It is the art of making men live together in peace and with reasonable happiness.
The central event of the twentieth century is the overthrow of matter. In technology, economics, and the politics of nations, wealth in the form of physical resources is steadily declining in value and significance. The powers of mind are everywhere ascendant over the brute force of things.
We are the standard-bearers in the only really authentic revolution, the democratic revolution against tyrannies. Our strength is not to be measured by our military capacity alone, by our industry, or by our technology. We will be remembered, not for the power of our weapons, but for the power of our compassion, our dedication to human welfare.
In dealing with the environment we must learn now how to master nature but how to master ourselves, our institutions, and our technology.
Modern technology has lost its magic. No longer do people stand in awe, thrilled by the onward rush of science, the promise of a new day. Instead, the new is suspect. It arouses our hostility as much as it used to excite our fancy. With each breakthrough there are recurrent fears and suspicion. How will the advance further pollute our lives; modern technology is not merely what it first appears to be. Behind the whitecoats, the disarming jargon, the elaborate instrumentation, and a the core of what has often seemed an automatic process, one finds what Dorothy found in Oz: modern technology is human after all.
The art of our era is not art, but technology. Today Rembrandt is painting automobiles; Shakespeare is writing research reports.
Technology by itself is never a primary cause of either greatness or decline.
Uncontrolled technology can certainly bring down disaster, perhaps irreparable, as our race. The only protection against it is a growth in man’s spiritual and moral maturity proportionate to his growth in technical skill and power.
The hope that technology will save us or will miraculously effect our moral improvement is a kind of modern idolatry.
Technology has wiped out the frontiers that formerly separated men, countries and peoples. Man has become a citizen of the world. Thus, modern man finds himself in an environment without spiritual unity or religious homogeneity.